Sunday, October 19, 2014

When To Stop Talking

I have a serious problem. I don't know when to stop talking, and I cross many lines of comfortability for other people.



I have always noticed I have had a relationship problem. I figured it was due to my abusive childhood and not learning developmentally how to properly relate to people. I never blamed my past or my parents. It was more of something that I accepted as one of the many side effects of my terrible childhood; I thought something hardwired into my brain that I had not yet learned to change. And this probably is true, but God made our brain malleable. You can teach an old dog new tricks! You can also grow new brain cells and habitual pathways or lack of them, as the case may be.

But, I like most people had something blocking me. You see, it is very hard to learn to change something you can't identify.

I notice the glassed over eyes or ones that dart beyond my head and know that the person I am speaking to either needs to be doing something else, would rather be doing something else, cannot relate, is not interested or has for some reason disengaged. Yet, instead of thinking of trying to find a quick exit statement and moving on, I feel compelled to hang on, to somehow find a way to reconnect or to establish a connection. It is like something is broken. I sense it. And I am inwardly urged to fix it.

The funny thing is I am not a fixer. At least I don't perceive myself as one. Others might.

Therefore, I googled "How do you know when to stop talking" and found a post, Six Signs You Need to Stop Talking, by Joyce Meyer. As I read the article, I felt nailed and a pain grew in the pit of my stomach. Of all of the six, this is the one that resonated the most:

"You’re Self-Inflated

We like to boast about what we’ve done, what we can do, and what we’re going to do. If we’re not careful, we can even take credit for things God did!
Everything we do, we should do it as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23) I don’t think we can even begin to know what God would do for us and the things He would allow us to participate in if we would learn to keep our successes a secret between us and God, unless He specifically gives us permission to share them."
OUCH! It hurts when you see "ugly" in yourself. My poor close friends! How do they put up with me? I need to be talking to God more and asking Him, "Is this something you want me to share for your testimony and glory or is it something I want to say for me to get a pat on the back?" I feel pierced in the heart. I know that feeling must be shame. God does not want me to be shamed. He wants me to know true guilt, be convicted of sin, confess it and be forgiven by Him. Therefore, I have uncovered something I must confess and be cleansed of. It will be a process. And in the end, it will be good for me and others, especially people I speak to in the future.
But this was not the only one. 
The other one I identified with was:

"You’re Criticizing Somebody

Picture this. Someone says or does something you think they shouldn’t have done and all of a sudden, you’ve got about a hundred opinions about them that you want to talk about!
First Thessalonians 4:9 says, “But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another” (AMP).
In other words, sharing your critical opinions about other people is always a mistake. We need to cover one another with love, instead of uncovering their weaknesses and pointing out their flaws."
UGH! This feels like an arrow pressed into my heart. I can remember a time today that I was guilty of this one. Just saying that makes my right arm tighten and get heavy. I am so sensitive in my body. I feel deeply. While spending many years in brain-based therapy, I learned a lot about how to read my own flesh and how to know when something was wrong. As I type this, my heart beats harder and the grip around my arm is tighter. Yet, I will press through as I did earlier. 
God does not want me to be overwhelmed by shame. Many people say these are the signs of anxiety: a tightened arm, a heavy heart, or a pain in the body. But I know I am not anxious right now. I am guilty. I am ashamed. I am embarrassed to know that I met someone new today and spoke wrongly about someone else that I did not even know. I said some unkind words. I made a judgement about her, mumbled some ugly remarks that I definitely would not want heard on the loudspeakers at the event. 
Oh, God forgive me. 
I was at an event for the community around our church and I said something mean in a laughing way to a church member I had just met. I triple sinned! Once against God, once against the dear lady I just met and once against the lady from our community. I confess. I was that snooty, hypercritical church lady everyone--including myself--detests.
Boy! I never realized how much trouble--sin--my mouth causes. Maybe this is why some of the most godly people are quiet, I reflect. 
As I take in a deep breath, I know I am a work in progress; God is completing me. I rolled off His potter's wheel, fell into the grass, got some rocks and sticks pressed into my clay and I am all messed up. 
As a Christian, I am grateful to have a Father that when I look toward Him in confession, eyes bowed low, I know when I look back up into His eyes, He still delights in me. It just doesn't make sense, but it is true. He love that much!
Father, forgive me for falling so short, for using my mouth to tear down, for speaking highly of myself and lowly of others and for not talking to you more than I talk to others. 
I am not all bad. God reminds me of a few of the highlights of the day to lift me up but I am going to keep them between me and Him because I am practicing not being self-inflated. Did I just self-inflate by saying that? I wonder.
I told you I was a mess!
Thanks for reading. Until the next time, be blessed, turn to God in your need. 

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